One of the many tools in the arsenal of big interests seeking to limit patient rights is the claim that malpractice lawsuits encourage costly defensive medicine. The myth claims that costs are increased indirectly because doctors now run more tests than necessary for fear of litigation. Yet, a close look at the situation in hospitals across the country paints a much different picture.
A recent Huffington Post article explains the claims made about the effect of “defensive medicine” are virtually unproven. In most cases the idea is generated solely by doctor surveys organized by the very groups who stand to benefit from claims about rising healthcare costs. When pressed further most of these groups have a difficult time identifying what exactly constitutes defensive medicine.
Even more evidence continues to pour in that shows that increased testing is most frequently done because of the fee for service Medicare guidelines that incentivize overuse of procedures. Regardless, Medicare rules would forbid performing tests that are unnecessary except to defend against lawsuits. In other words, if defensive medicine is used, it is illegal and should be rooted out.
The majority of unbiased scholarly research has found that the problem of defensive medicine is nothing more than the latest gambit by those interested in taking rights away from medical victims. In reality, the data indicates that medical providers are not conducting as many additional tests as is often believed. In addition, virtually no savings in medical costs can be gained from eliminating the testing of patients.
Our Chicago malpractice lawyers at Levin & Perconti will continue to stand firm against all misguided claims that aid in the removal of patient legal rights. All victims of poor medical care deserve fair access to the legal system with decisions made by a jury of their peers. It is a simple, time-tested method that must be defended. Contact our malpractice attorneys if you or someone you know has suffered because of inept medical hands.
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